Journaling is one of the greatest tools in the book to practice self-improvement and growth.
I know what you might be thinking… journaling is not for you.
I want to help you better understand why journaling is in fact… for everyone.
It doesn’t only allow you to reflect on yourself, but it helps you to understand your feelings, your thoughts, and emotions better. This is essentially your way to become a better you. Perhaps, even the best you. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you think about it, journaling is actually one of the cheapest acts of self-care that you can do. Cheaper than therapy, I can tell you that much. There have also been quite a few health benefits to journaling, such as a boost in mindfulness, memory, as well as communication skills.
I find it useful primarily in the self-awareness category.
Do you ever experience emotions and feelings and you simply don’t understand why you’re feeling them? Journaling is the perfect tool to help you not only put your emotions out on paper, but journaling will help you better understand why you’re feeling those emotions.
An excerpt from my personal journal:
“I woke up feeling tense today. I don’t particularly know why, nothing major happened that I know of. However, I woke up this morning, and I just didn’t feel… anything. I went to the bathroom, I brushed my teeth, I washed my face, I put on my gym clothes and went to the gym. I drank my water, I took a shower. The morning progressed as it normally does. I couldn’t shake the feeling off. I felt… annoyed. Almost irritable.”
I tried to retrace my thoughts. I tried to retrace anything I deemed significantly important that could have impacted my mood. My boyfriend had set up the coffee for me that morning, my mom had texted me good morning, I wasn’t going into the office that day which I was really happy about, my dad sent me a stupid video about some new exercises he thought I should incorporate into my video, I had plans to develop a few new recipes for my blog that I was really looking forward to…
Did you notice anything negative in that second paragraph?
“My dad sent me a stupid video about some new exercises he thought I should incorporate into my video…”
I’m not going to go off on a tangent about my daddy issues, but you’ve got to admit, this is a perfect way to identify those small issues in your life that cause you to feel upset, or angry, or any type of way.
“This pouring thoughts out on paper has relieved me. I feel better and full of confidence and resolution.”
How To Start Journaling
This can go a variety of different ways. First, decide if you prefer to write longhand or if you’re more of a tech fiend. There are plenty of journaling apps out there that you can download, or you can simply utilize google docs. I prefer to write longhand, and if you’re with me, you get to do one of my most favorite things in the world.
Get a journal.
I love all things stationery. I love books, I love paper, I love notes, journals, notepads, anything that is crisp and beautiful. Anything I can hold and smell and feel. I’ve definitely had more notebooks in my lifetime than clothes.
So, buy a journal, or download an app. Create a routine for yourself that is simple. Perhaps you want to write in your journal once a week, maybe twice. Perhaps you only want to write Saturday mornings. Ease into it. If you love writing and think writing every single day will benefit you, do it. I’m here for it. I try to write every single day. It doesn’t have to be a certain length, or for a certain amount of time. Sometimes, all I am feeling is one line.
An excerpt from my personal journal:
“Today, I am going to feel good.”
Sometimes, I write lengthy journal entries to cleanse my mind and get everything out of myself. You truly can’t go wrong here. Just write.
What To Journal about
Everything — is a good place to start.
I think talking about everything and anything is your best bet — because if this is new to you, who really knows what you need to feel and talk about?
A huge topic for me is emotions. I struggle with handling my emotions, but when I do take the time to understand why I am feeling a type of way, it gives me a huge sense of self-control. This is one of the biggest ways to learn more about yourself.
What triggers you? What causes you to feel a negative way? When you identify these things, it’s easier for you to take back the control and understand how to handle yourself better later on.
Another topic I love to write in my daily journaling is gratitude. Waking up and taking a moment to write down everything I am grateful for, everything that is positive in my life, makes me feel optimistic about the upcoming day. Even week. It reassures me that I have nothing to worry about, I have nothing to be upset about, I have a wholesome and beautiful life that I need to be grateful for.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Lastly, I love journaling about my goals and aspirations.
This is what brings me life. This is what sets a fire in my soul. This is what motivates me and inspires me every single day. The ability to create, the ability to become, the ability to see, and feel, and breathe and live. This is what makes me excited for the day and for the simple little tasks that I have to do. I set goals, dreams, and priorities daily in order to accomplish them.
If you don’t write down what you want out of your life, how will you get to where you want to be?
If you don’t take the time out of your day to simply think about what it is that you want to achieve, how will you progress?
Writing your goals down will in fact improve your focus, it’ll boost your motivation because when you write things down, it creates a sense of urgency to move closer to achieving them. Not to mention, this also allows you to track your progress.
When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere. It’s human nature to be visual. That is why you should always write your visions down, your aspirations down, everything that you want for yourself — should be written down.
Overall, journaling will benefit you
Perhaps journaling will become your therapist. Perhaps it’ll be a way for you to visualize a new life for yourself, perhaps it’ll be a way for you to purge your anxiety. Perhaps it’ll give you more energy to accomplishing a task and achieving your goals. At the end of the day, just like with dating — things take time. Getting to know yourself will take time. Don’t think that after one journaling session you will have a better understanding of yourself.
Self-reflection, self-improvement, self-development is a marathon. It’s not a 1-mile run. It’s going to take time, effort, and discipline.
Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting. — Joyce Meyer
Just like with anything though, the more consistent you are, the better results you’re going to get.